The MSI X79A-GD65 got off to a rocky start for us. Actually, that's a little bit of a lie. Initially when we setup the system it ran like a dream; out of the box the performance is really strong. The problem was when we started to overclock our 3960X. Initially we just couldn't go anywhere and it was really frustrating. We emailed MSI and we got a new BIOS at 2am in the morning their time.
After flashing to the latest BIOS, we started to have a bit more luck with the system and the overclock. The next day we didn't hear much, but we started to hear more on Sunday and a new BIOS came in that ended up giving us a 4.6GHz overclock.
At this point I was happy with where we found ourselves with the board. We managed to get a nice overclock out of the board and while we weren't at the point where we could give the board an award, we could at least give it a fairly strong score.
Of course, during the whole process we kept MSI up to date with how we were going with the BIOS' we had and let them know the problems we had. The biggest issue we had that we felt was holding our OC back was the divider issue. With more and more boards building up around us, though, we didn't have the luxury of having a board sitting around for days on end.
Anyway, we gave MSI the chance to get us an update by 4pm Monday and they delivered a final BIOS to us at 2:30pm and you can see what the end result was - silky smooth testing at 5GHz and some fantastic performance across our benchmarks. The most recent BIOS fixed all the issues we had initially with the board and helped improve our overclock by a good margin.
The most up to date BIOS turned the MSI X79A-GD65 from a good board that had some issues that needed to be ironed out, to a fantastic one. I asked MSI when we'd see this BIOS hit the website and they said very quickly as it solves very important issues that need to be addressed. Of course, for the most part the BIOS is probably in its earliest stage and probably need to go through a few things before it hits the website, but it's good to know that not only are MSI aware of the issues, they're actively working on fixing them.
With the fixed BIOS, though, everything just lined up as we would hope. In the looks department the X79A-GD65 is a good looking board with the Black / Blue color scheme going on and the bundle is also really strong. The eight DIMM model comes in at $299 US, so the price is good. The 4 DIMM should be just slightly cheaper.
In the end everything on the MSI X79A-GD65 was looking good until we had the overclocking issue. With that gone, though, thanks to the most recent BIOS we end up with a really nice X79 motherboard from MSI.
Paired up with the new 3930K, the MSI X79A-GD65 starts to look like a really nice buy. We really look forward to seeing what they've done with the new Big Bang board that's due out in December!